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U.S.: Egypt of ‘deep concern’ [UPDATE]

JTA

January 28, 2011 | 9:19 am

[UPDATE: 11:15 AM] Events in Egypt are of “deep concern,” the Obama administration said, and its government should show restraint.

“Events unfolding in Egypt are of deep concern,” P.J. Crowley, the state department spokesman, said Friday through the Twitter social network. “Fundamental rights must be respected, violence avoided and open communications allowed.”

Video posted on the Internet has depicted indiscriminate Egyptian police violence against protesters, and authorities have shut down much Internet access.

Late Friday, Egypt called its military in to quell riots—a rare occurrence in a country with a vast police force. Reports said two people were killed Friday.

In a statement she read live on Friday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, urged Egypt’s government to “engage immediately” with its people on political, economic and social reforms, and called on it to restrain its security forces.

“We support the universal human rights of the Egyptian people, including the right to freedom of speech, of association, and of assembly,” she said. “We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications.”

Politico reported that the Obama administration called for a rare Saturday meeting of its “principles,” high-ranking officials of the relevant agencies, to discuss Egypt.

It was the fourth day of clashes in Egypt, and riots have erupted in Jordan and Yemen as well. There have been protests in Lebanon and the Palestinian areas, and Syria has reportedly limited Internet access.

The clashes erupted after similar protests led to the downfall of the Tunisian dictatorship.

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